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The Smashing Pumpkins are back! After seven years, the acclaimed Pumpkins have returned with Zeitgeist. Featuring the single "Tarantula," this new sound is not to be missed.
Inside the buzzing hive of Smashing Pumpkins' guitars is clearly where bandleader Billy Corgan feels most comfortable. So, after a seven-year hiatus for the short-lived group Zwan and his surprisingly sunny 2005 solo album, Corgan has revived the Pumpkins in all the six-string-spattered shades of emotional gray that made them one of the greatest bands of the alt-rock era. Longtime drummer Jimmy Chamberlin, along with famed boardsmiths Roy Thomas Baker and Terry Date as well as Corgan himself coproduced. Chamberlin also supports mountainous layers of guitar with his fiercest playing. This is a version of the band dedicated to early bare-knuckled form, with a few exceptions: Corgan's grown into a more powerful wordsmith and his lengthy guitar solo explorations of yore are replaced with a trim, barbed textural approach that's ultimately more vicious. That is, until the centerpiece "United States" stretches into an epic punk-metal-informed sibling of Jimi Hendrix's "Machine Gun," with Corgan's strings singing like explosions and twisting metal as he warbles about revolution. Much of this album conjures literal and sonic visions of apocalypse, but there's grace, too, in the blithe grind of the hopeful "That's the Way (My Love Is)" and the melodic "Neverlost." Overall, Corgan's captivating effort to mine both the spirit of these turbulent times and the soul of his defining band is a smashing success. --Ted Drozdowski
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Anyway if you don't have Zeitgeist then I'd recommend this version, since two of the bonus tracks, Ma Belle and Death From Above, are well worth having, though Stellar is the worst track on the album. The dvd is two music videos and a 20 minute documentary, which is pretty interesting, though probably not worth it if you already have some other version of Zeitgeist. I only bought this version because I'd heard and liked Zeitgeist, but didn't own it.
The silver packaging is pretty cool, if that tempts you to buy this for some reason, though there's no booklet inside as there is for most CDs, guess the dvd makes up for that.
Don't expect Mellon Collie or Siamese Dream when you hear this, but something that sounds a bit different, though closest to Machina. Do expect to hear Jimmy's amazing drumming, though, especially on United States (and all 10 minutes of it was done in one take, according to the dvd).
Soooo in summary the dvd is ok, the bonus tracks are good, the album varies between genius and indifference and United States is incredible.
1. It's not Mellon Collie, Gish, or Siamese Dream.
2. Its not the Smashing Pumpkins...it's just Corgan and Chamberlain.
3. Billy Corgan's religion or politics (or lack there of) on this cd.
Of course there are those who just don't like the sound of it, which from experience if you don't like Corgan's voice on anything else or his lyrics then why buy a new SP cd. Anyway before i talk about the album i would like to address the 3 main reasons people hate Zeitgeist.
1. If you love only one pumpkins album or only those 3 then tough. There will never be another release like those. In fact Corgan has said in several interviews that he doesn't want to retread the same waters again. He has even changed songs dramatically so they don't sound too similar to already released pumpkins albums.
2. Well this one actually has a point. James Iha and D'arcy aren't here. They were a part of the original pumpkins and even though they probably didn't have a whole lot of input on most of Sp's albums they did lend a certain bit of fun to them. My main complaint about Zeitgeist is that its totally serious. There are no fun songs on here and i guess that bit of the Pumpkins is long gone. (Although Machina and Adore lacked a lot of that feeling as well) However, unlike a lot of people i still see this as a pumpkins record because its only BC and JC and as long as its just them then i can forgive the absence of James and D'arcy. Although the new live lineup kicks butt, but then thats another topic altogether.
3. Corgan is weird. His lyrics are cool. His religion is a main part of his life now and a main focus in the music of SP. If you disagree or dislike it then tough. I did however find the lack of any political stance on this album refreshing. It lays out the landscape and the lyrics and lets the listener judge just like every other sp album.
Now finally to the review. Zeitgeist took a few listens but now i have my favorites as well as a couple of songs i dont really care for. Starz, Bring the Light, Doomsday Clock, and Tarantula are favorites. I don't care for Neverlost or Come on lets go(which sounds like a bad Zwan song). The rest of the album is decent and for the most part it brings back nostalgia. It's too bad that 3 of the best songs were left off the album in Steller, Death from Above, and Zeitgeist. These are easily attainable off the net but it would have been nice if they were included all on the same cd. Another great one Gossamer missed the recording process entirely and is now a live only song. Even if you hate the album do yourself a favor and give gossamer a listen. It could be a top 5 SP song of all time easily.
Zeitgeist overall isn't a masterpiece and isn't a so-called return to form, but it does rock pretty hard. It may take a few listens but like all the pumpkins albums it grows on you. A re release with the 3 songs added would be great. However, this isn't going to happen so Zeitgeist is what it is. A very good album thats better than most of the crap thats out there these days. Do yourself a favor if your a Pumpkins or Corgan fan and pick it up if you haven't already and give it a shot to grow on you.